After three days of torrential rain, the conditions for County JFB semi-final were always going to be soft at St Colum’s. Determined to bounce back from a narrow defeat to a strong Urhan side, the Garnish players were well primed for the encounter.
However, despite an excellent opening score from Paul O’Neill, it was Randal Óg who got off to the better start leading 1-4 to 0-1 after the first quarter. Aided by a stiff breeze, Randal’s full-forward of Conor O’Neill and Sean Daly wreaked havoc in the Garnish defence. Whilst Garnish gradually got to grips with the Randal’s inside forward line in the second quarter, Darren Deery was the only inside forward at the opposite end showing form. Scores from Fintan JL and Sean Terry kept Garnish in touch but by half-time the lead was out to 7 points.
After the break, Daniel Rue and Brian Walsh’s introduction steadied the ship. With the wind at their backs, Garnish began a revival of sorts. Fintan JL pointed from a free and excellent long-range effort from Paul O’Neill closed the gap to 5 points. But the killer-blow came from Sean Daly, who despite best efforts from Rory O’Driscoll turned on a six-pence and shot to the corner of the Western goal. Garnish kept plugging away with points from play from Brian Terry and Fintan JL.
In the final quarter, Garnish threw caution to the wind. The unbroken Olllie Rue was introduced at mid-field and Brian Terry moved to the edge of the square. Dylan Henshaw’s introduction, despite carrying an injury, brought immediate dividends, with a well taken shot into Ciaran Murray’s net. Randal Óg’s nerves began to falter. On 60 minutes, the lead had been cut to a single score, Randal Óg leading 2-10 to 1-10.
As Paul O’Neill and Sean Terry launched a raid of high balls in on the square, Garnish were unlucky not to convert more. In the dying minutes, Randal’s counter-attack brought the lead back out to 5 points. Final Score Randal Óg 2-12 Garnish 1-10.
Despite coming up short, we can very proud of this monumental effort by our players. Paul O’Neill had a man-of-the-march performance and Brian Terry demonstrated his enduring qualities in the middle of the park. A disappointing result must be put in perspective in what has been an excellent year from the club, both on and off the pitch. The energy and commitment from the committee and players in rebuilding a resilient club should applauded. Maith Sibh go Léir!
Ross Murphy, Matthew O’Leary, Eanna Murphy, Tommy O’Sullivan, Jack Andy, Rory O’Driscoll, Darragh Henshaw, Brian Terry, Jerome O’Dwyer, Paul O’Neill, Cian O’Neill, Sean Terry, Fintan JL, Darren Deery, John O’Driscoll. Subs: Daniel Rue, Brian Walsh, Jamie O’Driscoll, Dylan Henshaw, Ollie Rue.